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Family stability may be more crucial than 2 parents for child success
Date:8/31/2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio The advantage that children get from living in two-parent families may actually be due to family stability more than the fact that their parents are married.

A new study finds that children who who are born and grow up in stable single-parent homes generally do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior problems.

"Many of the studies that show an advantage for children who grow up in married households versus those who grow up with single parents don't distinguish between family structure and family stability," said Claire Kamp Dush, author of the study and assistant professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

"Our results suggest that the key for many children is growing up in a stable household, where they don't go through divorce or other changes in the family whether that is in a single-parent home or a married home."

This study examined children who were born to always-single mothers not those whose mothers were single as a result of a divorce, she said.

Kamp Dush said she is not suggesting that there are no advantages for children living in two-parent homes. Particularly for black families, the study did find ways in which children did better with two parents. However, careful study suggests that white and Hispanic children can do well living in single-parent homes if they have a stable home environment.

The study appears as a chapter in the new book "Marriage and Family: Perspectives and Complexities" (Columbia University Press), which Kamp Dush edited with H. Elizabeth Peters, professor of policy analysis and management and director of the population program at Cornell University.

For her study, Kamp Dush used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a nationally representative survey of people nationwide conducted by Ohio State's Center for Human Resource Research. Men and women aged 14 to
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Contact: Claire Kamp Dush
Kamp-dush.1@osu.edu
614-247-2126
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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